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19 October 2017

19 Oct.ND:Kerala HC Allows Sruthi to go With Her Muslim Husband, Rejects 'Love Jihad' Allegation/Web of Hindu centres in Kerala trying to stop conversions



Evening NEWS DIGEST
19 Oct.2017: 28 Muharram 1439:Vol:9, No:24
Kerala HC Allows Sruthi to go With Her Muslim Husband, Rejects 'Love Jihad' Allegation
Kerala High Court has said all love marriages between Hindu women and Muslim men should not be seen as the case of ‘Love Jihad’ while allowing Sruthi Meledath to go with her husband Anees Hameed, reported ANI. The High Court upheld the inter-faith marriage of Sruthi Meledath and Anees Hameed and said it was not a case of ‘Love Jihad’, a term coined by right-wing groups to allege an Islamist strategy to convert Hindu women via first romance and then marriage.The Kerala High Court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Anees Hameed seeking an order that his wife Sruthi Meledath be released from her family’s custody. The court observed that Sruthi’s marriage was not ‘Love Jihad’ and allowed her to go with her husband. The court further said that such inter-religion marriages should be encouraged.“All love marriages should not be termed as ‘Love-Jihad’,” said the Kerala High Court. “Such kind of marriages should be encouraged. There’s no boundary for love,” the court added. The court had earlier cautioned a lawyer arguing on behalf of the parents of Sruthi Meledath not to use ‘Love Jihad’ narrative as an excuse to break-up inter-faith marriages.Sruthi had converted to Islam and married her classmate Anees. After their marriage, Sruthi’s parents moved a habeas corpus petition in the high court in May this year. She was produced in court and then allowed to go with Anees. Later, her parents reportedly took her to the yoga centre and kept her there for nearly two months. Last week, she had deposed before the court that she was tortured by counsellors and yoga trainers at the centre when she refused to leave her Muslim husband. India.com
Kerala HC on ‘love jihad’: Bust institutions indulging in forcible religious conversion or re-conversion
Ghar wapsi centre? Growing web of Hindu centres in Kerala trying to stop conversions
Sruthi Meledath, a Hindu woman from Kannur, converted to Islam and married her classmate Anees Hameed. What has given Sruthi’s case larger overtones, however, is that the dispute went far beyond  her family members. Sruthi alleged in court that her parents had taken her to the Siva Sakthi Yoga Kendra in Tripunithura near Kochi, and that she had been illegally confined there and harassed by counsellors and staff members of the yoga centre.In recent months, a pervasive narrative of ‘love jihad’ – of Hindu women being converted to Islam and radicalised through marriages to Muslim men – has spread widely in Kerala. While many, including top police officials, have rejected the existence of any such phenomenon, this has done nothing to quell the vehement arguments of many Hindu groups that an organised racket exists.In case of conversions to Hinduism, 5 authorised centres have been working in the state since the late 80s –Arya Samajam (with branches in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram), the Akhila Bharatha Ayyappa Seva Sangham and the Sree Rama Das Mission based out of Thiruvananthapuram, the Kerala Hindu Mission based out of Ernakulam and the All India Dayananda Salvation Mission in Alappuzha.The major shift that has occurred in the recent past in Kerala is that various Hindu groups, which had largely worked in isolation, have become more organised in their approach to cases of conversion. These organisations work at three levels. Firstly, there are helplines that field calls from people who have converted to Islam or Christianity or from their family members. These helplines then redirect certain cases to centres that conduct courses on the virtues of Hinduism, and on the flaws of other religions.Then there are the re-conversion centres, which finally bring the neo-converts back into the fold of Hinduism.KR Manoj, the founder and director of Arsha Vidya Samajam, a centre that conducts courses on Hinduism, recently wrote on Facebook about the seamless co-operation between Hindu organisations at various levels. “Institution has a good equation with RSS, VHP,Hindu Aikya Vedi, Amruthanandamayi Mission, Chinmaya Mission and Kolathur Advaithashramam,” Manoj wrote.Manoj himself has been at the centre of a major controversy over re-conversion, and was on the run recently, till he managed to procure anticipatory bail.Manoj ran the Siva Sakthi Yoga Centre at Udayamperoor on Tripunithura road, where Sruthi Meledath and other women were allegedly illegally confined, and subjected to mental and physical harassment in an attempt to re-convert them to Hinduism. Though Yoga Centre is situated less than a kilometer away from the local police station, its activities had passed unnoticed until recently, when 2 women and a former employee came forward to reveal tales of torture and abuse going on within its walls.One of the earliest to jump on the re-conversion wagon was the VHP, which helped set up a Hindu helpline in 2009, to "facilitate re-conversions to Hinduism."In its nearly eight years of operation, Hindu Helpline, which works out of Ernakulam, claims to have attended to 12,000 "love jihad" cases. Of these, the helpline boasts of having "saved" at least 8,500 women.The helpline works in close association with Manoj’s Arsha Vidya Samajam for ‘Islamic de-radicalisation’. According to the Helpline’s State Coordinator Pratheesh Viswanath, "all non-Hindus were originally Hindus", and therefore the work carried out by the five authorised Hindu conversion centres is not conversion, but "re-conversion."The helpline’s biggest intervention comes in the form of providing legal assistance to families converts. In the years since its inception, the helpline has filed at least 3000 habeas corpus petitions, mostly on behalf of parents.Another helpline called the Hindu Helpdesk was formed in 2016.P Gopakumar, the state convener of the organisation, told Scroll.in that their main task was to offer legal assistance to the families of alleged love jihad victims. thequint
NDTV seniors met ministers for favour while pretending to fight BJP: Barkha Dutt
Mumbai: Senior Journalist Barkha Dutt, who worked with NDTV for 21 long years, on Wednesday broke her silence and in a lambasting post on Facebook revealed why she had to resign from the channel, supposedly the crusader against the wrongdoings of the present dispensation.Barkha however in her post wrote that the channel is neither a crusader nor a victim."I certainly don't see NDTV as either victim or crusader", she wrote in her post.Alleging that some of his former colleagues for trying to take favour from BJP, Barkha wrote, "Maybe at that stage NDTV was trying to make peace with the BJP. Incidentally it's senior folks have approached a slew of govt ministers for help in the last few months while pretending to fight BJP at Press Club and so on. So utterly fake."Barkha's Facebook post came after NDTV's Managing Editor Sreenivasan Jain took to social media and expressed his disapointment over its organisation's decison to take down his story on Jay Shah. He said that the management's decison to take down the story was an "aberration".However in her post, Barkha revealed that this was not the first time the NDTV tried to censor the story."The axing of stories at NDTV is hardly new and those seeking the higher moral ground today remained absolutely silent when some of us fought with the owners and management over these issues", Dutt wrote in her post."An innocuous bread and butter interview I did with Chidambaram was taken off air during the aftermath of the surgical strikes. I have been sidelined from the major stories for taking step against management's decison of taking down stories."Over the next two months, for the stand I took, I was clearly punished with a hostile newsroom environment that sought to push me out of any big news story that the top bosses were anchoring. It was later told to me that my protest was seen as a "betrayal" and that I argued too much about the news. I was then offered a non daily- news", she wrote.ummid.com
‘The Wire’ barred from writing on Jay Shah to protect his ‘right to live with dignity’
Ahmedabad:An Ahmedabad court last week passed an order barring The Wire from publishing any further report on BJP president Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah’s business turnover “so that the right to live with dignity of the plaintiff (Jay) may be protected”. Additional Senior Civil Judge BK Dasondi of Ahmedabad rural court observed that the “injunction should be granted to applicant/plaintiff (Jay)” even though notice was not served upon the opposite parties (The Wire, its editor, the writer of the article, and others).About not hearing arguments of the website before issuing the injunction, the order said, “…it is mandatory for this court to issue notice of such application to the opposite party (The Wire). But in the present case, it appears that if an immediate remedy is not given to the applicant, there is a chance of publishing the news, for which the present plaintiff has filed the suit.”On October 8, The Wire had published a report stating, among other things, that the turnover of a company owned by (Amit) Shah’s son increased 16,000 times in the year following election of Narendra Modi. The order stated, “This court is of the opinion that if the application (of Jay) is not allowed, then it may lead to prejudice with the rights and interest of the applicant.”In his order, the judge prohibited the website from “using and publishing or printing in any electronic, print, digital or any other media, or broadcast, telecast, print and publish… in any language on the basis of article published in “The Wire” dated 8/10/17 either directly or indirectly on the subject matter with respect to plaintiff in any manner whatsoever”.The court directed Jay to “deliver to the opposite parties(TheWire) a copy of application”.
2008 Delhi blasts case: Inspector fails to identify key accused, classified ‘hostile’
New Delhi: A crucial police witness named by Delhi Police’s Special Cell to support the authenticity of arrests made by them in connection with the serial blasts in the Capital in 2008 has been classified as “hostile” after he failed to correctly identify a key accused in the case. While recording testimonies of prosecution witnesses at the Sessions Court on October 14, the public prosecutor sought permission to declare Inspector Rajendra Singh Seharawat as “hostile” after he repeatedly failed to identify Mansoor Asgar Peerbhoy, who is accused of being a key conspirator in the blasts.Sources said that during court proceedings, Seharawat wrongly identified Peerbhoy on three separate instances. Peerbhoy, who worked for Yahoo Inc, is also facing trial for allegedly sending “terror e-mails” to several media organisations minutes before the blasts.Special Cell investigated the serial blasts that occurred on Sept.13, 2008, at Gaffar Market in Karol Bagh, Barakhamba Road and Central Park in Connaught Place, and M-Block Market in Greater Kailash. They also claimed to have recovered a bomb near India Gate.In 2009, Peerbhoy and two of his alleged associates, Mubin Kader Sheikh and Asif Bashir Sheikh, were charged in the case along with Mohammed Hakim under various provisions of IPC, UAPA and the Explosive Substances Act.Under CrPC, investigation officer has to conduct arrests in the presence of a public witness. In this case, Seharawat was named as the witness to authenticate the arrests of the accused, and support search operations and disclosure statements recorded during investigations.According to court records, Seharawat “initially” identified Mubin as Peerbhoy. Later, he identified another accused Kayamuddin Kapadia as Peerbhoy. On a third occasion, he wrongly identified another accused Shahzad Ahmed as Peerbhoy.In his order last Saturday, Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma noted: “At this stage, Additional Public Prosecutor seeks permission to declare the witness hostile on the point of identity of accused Peerbhoy. Heard. Allowed.”Advocate Mehmood Pracha, Peerbhoy’s counsel, said, “There are only two possibilities. One, if the witness named by the investigation officer was actually present as witness when the Special Cell arrested Peerbhoy. Second, even if he was present, did they show someone else to him and later arrest Peerbhoy? This shows how the investigation was conducted.”Indian Express
New security headache in J&K: 3-ft-tall JeM militant
Srinagar:A 47-year-old militant, who is only three feet tall, is reported to be behind the recent attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed in Kashmir. According to police sources, Noor Mohammad Tantray, a resident of Tral in Pulwama district, has taken over command of the JeM in South Kashmir and is engineering the outfit’s bid to regroup in the Valley.Tantray, who was arrested in Delhi in 2003 and sentenced to life by a POTA court in 2011, is reported to have jumped parole a few months ago and rejoined militancy.“Yes, he has joined JeM,” Awantipora SP Muhammad Zahid said.“Our investigations into the recent attacks have revealed that he (Tantray) is playing a pivotal role in the Jaish,” a senior police officer said. “He and another Jaish commander, Mufti Waqas, have been playing a major role in the recent attacks carried out by the outfit.” According to police sources, Tantray provided logistical support to JeM militants who stormed the District Police Lines in Pulwama in August. 8 security personnel and 3 militants were killed in that attack. Tantray is also reported to have been involved in JeM attack on BSF camp, outside the Srinagar International Airport, on October 3, in which one BSF officer and three militants were killed. Indian Express
Braid-chopping JK: 5 injured as forces open fire to control protesters:
Srinagar:At least 5 people were injured at Walaharma area of Pahalgam, in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on Wednesday after security forces opened fire on people protesting against an alleged incident of braid-chopping. Several protesters reportedly threw stones on an Army vehicle passing the area. All 5 are said to be out of danger.According to locals, unknown people cut the hair of a woman named Shareefa, wife of one Zulfiqar Ahmad, at the family’s home in Sofi Pora early Wednesday morning. As some residents claimed to have nabbed the suspect, many more came out on the streets in protest.Locals alleged that some Army personnel rushed in at this point and “rescued” the suspect, thereby intensifying the protests. As some youths began throwing stones at an Army vehicle in the area, soldiers opened fire to control the crowd, resulting in injuries to at least 5 people.
Sarpanch killed in Shopian: ‘If we stopped them from burning house, we would be seen as enemies, they said’
Shopian:Surrounded BY apple orchards, smoke is still billowing from the charred remains of former PDP sarpanch Mohammad Ramzan Sheikh’s house, which was set ablaze by a mob on Tuesday, a day after he was shot by militants. Sheikh’s immediate family — his 75-year-old mother, wife, four minor children, younger brother and his family — has gone into hiding. Sheikh, 50, a block-level PDP worker, was killed in an attack by three militants inside his house on Monday. One of the attackers, identified as Hizbul Mujahideen militant Showkat Ahmad Kumar alias Falahi, reportedly died in a scuffle with Sheikh’s family members and neighbours. The mob, of 300-400 people, was angry over Showkat’s death.“We were sitting in the upper storey of the house when at about 4 pm, a crowd surrounded the house and started pelting stones. Some youths shouted at us to leave the house, saying it belongs to a person who was responsible for the death of a militant,’’ said Mohammad Ismail Sheikh, uncle of the slain PDP worker who lives next door. indianexpress
How can they interfere in my personal faith? UP CM Yogi says Ayodhya is my personal belief
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday slammed the opposition parties saying he also has his own personal faith and they should not interfere in that. CM Adityanath, who is visiting Ayodhya’s disputed site on the occasion of Diwali, was quoted by ANI as saying: “Meri vyaktigat aastha bhi hai, us mein vipaksh kaise hastakshep kar sakta hai? (I also have my own personal faith, how can the opposition interfere in that?)”Asserting the need to run a ‘Swachhta Abhiyan effectively’ at the disputed site, CM also stressed on the need to improve the administrative facilities such as cleanliness and ensure basic facilities for visitors like toilets and clean drinking water. He also mentioned about upgrading the drainage system and other infrastructure there. “As the CM, it is my duty and I am committed towards development of every place of the state,” he told ANI. Since morning, CM has offered his obeisance at the Hanumangarhi Temple as well as the Sugriva temple here. indianexpress
Ayodhya is his personal belief:Yogi Adityanath
NRC update: Indigenous Muslims urged to cooperate
Guwahati: Indigenous (Islam) Coordination Committee, Assam, an umbrella orgazisation of at least 10 groups of indigenous Muslim communities of the state, on Wednesday urged the people to cooperate with the ongoing process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for its timely and error-free publication.The committee asked all Muslims—belonging to various tribes and communities—to join hands to prepare the NRC and to solve the age old influx problem in the state. Advocate Enamul Haque, adviser to the committee, said they have already discussed the matter of constitutional safeguarding of the indigenous Muslim population of the state with various indigenous and tribal groups as well as NRC state coordinator Prateek Hazela. "All have assured that indigenous Muslims have no reason to fear. That's why we urged all the people of the state, especially those belonging to various indigenous Muslim communities, to help complete an error-free NRC draft," he added.As per the committee, the state has a population of around 40 lakh indigenous Muslims who belong to various groups like Goriya, Moriya, Deshi, Pangal,Joloha, Maimel and Kochari. The committee apprehended that several groups with vested interests have been trying to misguide the local Muslim population by spreading rumours that they would be left out of the draft because of their religion."We believe these rumours were circulated to trigger resentment among the community and to create hurdle in the updating process.That's why we urged everyone to cooperate," he added. As per the Supreme Court directive, draft NRC must be published by Dec.31 this year. The coordination committee has also asked the indigenous Muslim population to approach them if they find any difficulty in the process. timesofindia
RSS planning to mobilise lakhs in Meerut in Feb:TOI
New Delhi:RSS has planned it biggest mobilisation drive “Rastraoday” in Meerut, on Feb.25 next year in which hundreds of youth from the villages of western UP will be informed about the working of the Sangh.Describing the programme as an “expression of collective sangh experience,” an RSS leader said, the programme is aimed at involving at least 25 members each from over 10,000 villages in and around Meerut. Over 2 lakh workers are expected to participate in the programme to be presided over by Mohan Bhagwat, members of the organisation said. Besides talks on nation building, physical exercises, event will also see the involvement of sympathisers of the RSS and influential community leaders in the State.
50 suicides in 60 days: Dark reality of Andhra, Telangana coaching centres:NDTV
Hyderabad: Samyuktha had scored 95 per cent in class 12 exams and joined a leading coaching institute in Hyderabad three months ago to get through the national medical exam. She wanted to be a doctor.On Monday, she killed herself, leaving behind a note that talked about her inability to cope with her studies.In the last two months alone, more than 50 students have reportedly committed suicide across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Child rights activists who have been tracking these cases link many of them to students cracking up under pressure to perform.Samyuktha's father, a driver who had dreams for his daughter, recalls how she would, despite her high score, talk about her inability to focus after enrolling in the coaching institute. "I would only advise other parents to understand what your children are going through when you put them in such colleges," he said.Around the same time that he was grieving his loss, another video emerged of a student being mercilessly assaulted by his teacher in front of his classmates emerged from a private college at Visakhapatnam in AP. On Wednesday, there were indications that the 2 states were getting around to acknowledging the size of the problem.
WORLD
Palestinian official: Unity deal will aid peace process
Fatah and Hamas have vowed to press ahead with the implementation of a national unity deal, in response to a US official demanding the disarming of Hamas.The 2 dominant parties in Palestinian politics signed a unity deal in Cairo last week, in an effort to end a decade of divide between them. Jason Greenblatt, the US president's special representative for international negotiations, on Thursday said Hamas must disarm if it wants any role in a unity government, in the first detailed US response to the deal.Hamas rejected Greenblatt’s comments as "blackmail attempts and American bias in favour of Israeli positions".The movement said that the US official’s remarks represented blatant interference in internal Palestinian affairs and were aimed at sabotaging the Palestinian group’s reconciliation process.Fatah spokesman Osama Qawasmeh said that the agreement is an "internal Palestinian matter" that will help bring peace."The deal that we signed with Hamas talks about building a Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders - which is in line with international law," Qawasmeh said when asked about Greenblatt's comments. Earlier in the day, in a statement echoing Israel's position, Greenblatt had said "any Palestinian govt must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognise the state of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties - including to disarm terrorists - and commit to peaceful negotiations. Al Jazeera
Israel closes Palestinian media groups in West Bank raids
Israeli forces closed several Palestinian media companies in the occupied West Bank in a wave of overnight raids, drawing criticism from the Palestinian Authority. Israeli military authority in the occupied territories, COGAT, said in a statement that it raided eight Palestinian companies, accusing them of inciting violence against Israel.“These practices are part of a mentality that rejects peace,” said Palestinian govt spokesman Yusuf Mahmoud.Israel also reportedly detained 14 Palestinians in overnight raids across West Bank, according to news agency Ma’an.middleeastmonitor
Israel advances 1300 new settlement homes for 2nd day in a row
Israeli authorities advanced new settlement homes for the second day in a row yesterday, as reported by the Times of Israel. Plans for 1,300 homes in Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank were advanced by the Defence Ministry committee responsible, bringing the total number of homes green-lighted this week to some 2,600.Among the 1,232 units advanced yesterday were 459 homes in Ma’ale Adumim, near Jerusalem.Plans that received final authorisation for building included projects for settlers removed from illegal outposts Migron (86 units) and Amona (102 units). Israeli NGO Peace Now slammed the developments in a statement yesterday, saying that Netanyahu’s govt is sending settlers a clear message:"You can build illegally and steal private Palestinian lands and we will take care of providing adequate compensation."Middleeastmonitor
‘We are not at war with Islam’, says Israeli president
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told a delegation of Zionist Christians that his country is not at war with Islam.Speaking yesterday in Jerusalem during a meeting with the head of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) from Africa, Bishop Barnabas Lekganyana, Rivlin said: “We have never had a religious war with Islam; we understood that we had to live in harmony.” Rivlin’s comments appeared to be another attempt to challenge the notion that the conflict in Palestine is a religious war. He had echoed similar sentiments before saying: “We have no dispute with Islam, we did not have, we will not have, and today, too, we don’t have.”In an interview with an Israeli TV channel, Rivlin complained about overplaying the role of religion saying: “The nationalist struggle, the Israeli-Arab conflict, has turned into a Jewish-Muslim conflict, and to my sorrow both sides understand this — understand this but are not doing anything about it.” middleeastmonitor
EU countries demand compensation for Israel demolitions in West Bank
8 European Union member states have demanded €30,000 in compensation from Israel for the confiscation and demolition of structures in the occupied West Bank. The official protest letter, described by Israeli paper Haaretz as “the first of its kind”, is reportedly set to be delivered to senior Israeli Foreign Ministry officials within a few days.The existence of the letter was first reported by French newspaper Le Monde. Belgian govt is said to be leading the way, joined by France, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg,Italy,Ireland and Denmark.middleeastmonitor
Amnesty urges UK to ban Israeli settlement produce
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is being urged to ban the sale in the UK of all products from Israeli settlements, in a new campaign push by Amnesty International.The call, issued as part of an Amnesty campaign marking the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, also “asks the Foreign Secretary to stop companies in UK from operating in the settlements or trading in settlement goods”.According to global rights NGO, “hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of goods produced in Israeli settlements” are exported globally every year, “despite the fact that most countries around the world have officially condemned settlements as illegal under international law”. middleeastmonitor
Kuwaiti official orders Israel delegates to ‘get out’
A Kuwaiti official told Israeli delegation to leave the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference which is being held in Russia.Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim told the Israeli delegation: “You should pack your bags and get out of the hall after you saw the reactions of the world’s honourable parliaments.”He continued: “I say to the brutal occupier, if you do not feel shame, then do as you please.”Al-Ghanim said Israeli delegate “represents the most dangerous form of terrorism; state terrorism”.The head of the delegation of the Palestinian National Council at IPU, Azzam Al-Ahmad, said Al-Ghanim’s words expressed the thoughts of all the Arab nations.“Al-Ghanim’s words in front of the delegates shine a light on the wounds Palestinians have suffered,” Al-Ahmad said.He added that international parliaments have now been made aware of the Palestinians’ suffering in their quest for their “right to self-determination, to end the Israeli occupation and to establish an independent Palestinian state.” middleeastmonitor
Sisi meets head of World Jewish Congress in Egypt
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi yesterday met with the head of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) Ronald Lauder in Cairo where they discussed the Middle East peace process and other regional issues, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian president’s office.The meeting was also attended by the Egypt’s intelligence chief Khaled Fawzy and WJC’s Advisor for Middle East Affairs, Thaer Mukbel.During the meeting, Al-Sisi and Lauder discussed “developments in the Middle East peace process, pushing forward the efforts to revive negotiations and reaching a just and comprehensive resolution for the Palestinian cause,” according to the official statement. middleeastmonitor
Ex-president Sadat’s nephew eyes Egypt presidency
The nephew of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat is planning to run for presidency in next year’s election in Egypt.“We all have the right to vie in election as long as we fit the conditions,” Mohamed Anwar Sadat told the Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.Egypt will hold presidential election in early 2018 as per the constitution.The term of incumbent President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is set to expire in June 2018.Though he is widely expected to run for re-election, Al-Sisi has not publicly announced his intention to run for the vote.“It’s only a few months before the polls, however, no one has yet unveiled his intention to run, including Al-Sisi himself, which raises many questions,” Sadat said.middleeastmonitor
Brotherhood leader demands Sisi regime be prosecuted
A senior leader in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Essam El-Erian, who has been imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities, yesterday asked the court to allow him to meet with international lawyers to file lawsuits against the government regarding human rights violations in prisons.El-Erian said he wished to meet with lawyers Ramsey Clark from the US, Mustafa Al-Ramid and Khaled El-Sufayani from Morocco, Ali Abu El-Sukkar from Jordan, Asaad Harmoush from Lebanon and Mubarak El-Mutawaa from Kuwait.He requested the men be allowed entry to Egypt and not be stopped at the airport in order for them to meet with him and file lawsuits in international courts. The defendant, who was in court for a session in the case on the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in dispersal, explained that his family is banned from visiting him and are treated badly by security officials and prison guards. middleeastmonitor
Egyptian military court reduces sentences against 34 Brotherhood defendants: middleeastmonitor
An Egyptian military court has reduced the life sentences imposed on 34 defendants to between five and seven years, their lawyer has told Anadolu. They had originally been found guilty of being members of now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, committing acts of violence and vandalising public property in the southern province of Minya in 2013. A life sentence in Egypt normally means 25 years in prison.Lawyer Khaled Al-Koumi said that the court in the Assiout Province also acquitted 5 other defendants due to a lack of evidence against them. Al-Koumi told Anadolu that the fact that one of the defendants is a Coptic Christian highlights the illogicality of the case, because he cannot possibly have been a member of the Islamist group. Tuesday’s ruling can be appealed against within 60 days.
Warning for China as US hails India 'partnership'
Washington: US vowed to work with India in preference to China over the next century to promote a "free and open" Asia-Pacific region led by prosperous democracies. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson delivered his unexpectedly sharp message to Beijing on the same day President Xi Jinping opened Communist Party congress. His upbeat speech was designed to set the stage for a visit next week to China's main Asian rival India, and to lay out a vision for a 100-year "strategic partnership" between Washington and New Delhi.But President Donald Trump's chief diplomat also took the opportunity to compare the United States and India — the world's "2 greatest democracies" — with China, which he said was undermining the "rules-based international order."After the speech, reporters asked a senior State Department official whether it had been intended as a warning or a rebuke to China. "It's a speech that was designed for many audiences," he said, smiling."The fact that he mentioned China is obviously built into the speech," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But this is a speech, obviously, that we hope all countries in Indo-Pacific region will take to heart."AFP
Tillerson wants deeper US-India relationship to tackle growing Chinese influence
‘Trump’s new Afghan strategy an opportunity for India’
London:US President Donald Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan and south Asia provides India an opportunity to build its ‘ruthlessly pragmatic’ neighbourhood policy, experts opined at a seminar in London on Wednesday.Leading experts from the US and Britain at the seminar on ‘The new US strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia:Challenges and Prospects’ at the influential International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) dwelt at length on the new contours of the strategy and sought to allay some misconceptions about it in Pakistan.Participants included former US officials now at the Washington-based National Defence University’s Near East Asia Center for Strategic Studies: Roger Kansas, John Wood and Jack Gill, as well as IISS experts Rahul Roy-Chaudhury and Antoine Levesques.Wood said the new strategy, announced on August 21, had been ‘over-interpreted’ in certain quarters, and highlighted that Trump did not call upon India to provide military assistance in Afghanistan but sought help in the economic and development realm.On the criticism in Pakistan, he said the strategy outlined had several elements that Islamabad has been seeking for several years, such as long-term US presence in Afghanistan, need for political settlement and increased pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan. According to Roy-Chaudhury, the strategy was an opportunity for India, and there has already been a flurry of Indian diplomatic activity following the new US strategy, as indicated by recent meetings between Indian, US and Afghan functionaries, and India’s national security advisor Ajit Doval flying to Kabul for meetings with his counterpart and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. “No previous US president has talked as tough on Pakistan as Trump has,” Roy-Chaudhury said, adding, “And, for the first time, a US president has publicly invited India to play a larger role in Afghanistan’s economic development, thereby ‘legitimising’ India’s influence in the country.” hindustantimes
Ousted PM Sharif, daughter Maryam indicted by Pakistani anti-corruption court
Islamabad:A Pakistani anti-corruption court on Thursday indicted ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter over allegations linked to ownership of London properties, opening a trial that could see the former leader jailed.Sharifs have called the corruption proceedings against them a conspiracy, hinting at intervention by the powerful military, but opponents have hailed it as a rare example of the rich and powerful being held accountable.A Reuters witness in court said Sharif, his daughter Maryam, as well as her husband Muhammad Safdar, had all been indicted by the court of the anti-corruption agency, National Accountability Bureau.Reuters
Pak court extends Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest for another 30 days
 Hafiz Saeed’s house arrest was extended for another 30 days by a Judicial Review Board of Pakistan’s Punjab province.However, the board refused to allow the same in the detention of his four aides.30-day detention will be applicable from October 24.Saeed’s aides — Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain — may walk out free on the expiry of their September 25 detention order if they are not detained in any other case.PTI
UK: Labour leader demands apology from Britain for Jallianwalla Bagh massacre
London:Virendra Sharma, a senior Labour leader and MP from Ealing Southall, has reiterated a long-standing demand that Britain tender a formal apology for the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in 1919.Tabling an early day motion (EDM) in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Sharma called on Prime Minister Theresa May to apologise for the incident that Indian historians say cost thousands of lives. He also demanded that the “shameful piece of history” be taught at schools in the United Kingdom.Demands for an apology have cropped up on several occasions over the decades, including the time Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited the Jallianwalla Bagh memorial in 1997 and former Prime Minister David Cameron’s trip to India in 2013. HT
Taliban attack kills 43 Afghan soldiers in Kandahar
Taliban launched a major attack on an army base in southern Kandahar province, killing at least 43 Afghan soldiers.The brazen assault on Thursday began with two suicide car bombings, setting off several hours of fighting.Of 60 soldiers manning the base, 43 were killed, 9 wounded, and 6 missing after Taliban fighters stormed the camp in the middle of the night, the defence ministry said in a statement.At least 9 Taliban were also reported killed at the base in the Chashmo area of Maiwand district.It was the third assault on a security installation this week.  The Taliban claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said at least 60 Afghan soldiers were killed and wounded many others, he said. aljazeera
Ex-US diplomat Galbraith: 'Kurdistan's independence is inevitable'
Peter Galbraith, a former US diplomat and author who is also an adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government, believes Kurdish independence is inevitable and that Iraqi government cannot prevent it from happening in the long term. He argued that the takeover of Kirkuk by Iraqi troops served to simplify the case for Kurdish independence, not complicate it.Iraqi troops and allied paramilitaries retook the northern province of Kirkuk and its lucrative oilfields on Monday and Tuesday, as well as formerly Kurdish-held areas in Nineveh and Diyala provinces - all outside the autonomous Kurdish region. aljazeera
Rights group: 1,873 civilians killed in Syria’s Raqqa
Some 1,873 civilians were killed and thousands were wounded in the Syrian city of Raqqa during the latest military operation carried out by the US-backed Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) against Daesh, a rights group revealed yesterday. Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently network said on Facebook that the bombing and attacks carried out by the international coalition led by the US and PYD militants against Daesh have destroyed 90 per cent of the city.The group, which documents violations committed by the warring groups in Raqqa, pointed out that 450,000 civilians have been displaced since the start of the military operation on 6 June. middleeastmonitor
Iraq army chief of staff arrives in Saudi
Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army, Lieutenant-General Othman Al-Ghanmi, arrived in Saudi Arabia yesterday as part of a senior military delegation, the New Khaleej news website reported.Al-Ghanmi’s visit comes on the back of an invitation issued to him by his Saudi counterpart Major General Abdul Rahman Bin Saleh during his visit to Baghdad in July.The military leaders will discuss cooperation in the field of fighting terrorism, opening crossings and challenges faced while ensuring the safety and security of Saudi Arabia and Iraq.This visit is the first such visit by a senior Iraqi military official in more than two decades and an important step towards reinforcing relations between the two countries and exchanging intelligence information, the news site stated.
Saudi plane lands in Baghdad after 27-year hiatus
A Saudi passenger plane touched down at Baghdad’s international airport on Wednesday for the first time in more than a quarter-century, according to Iraq’s Transportation Ministry. Transport Minister Kazem Fangan al-Hamami and Saudi Arabia’s acting ambassador to Iraq, Abdul Aziz al-Shammari, were both present at the airport to welcome the plane.A second Saudi passenger plane -- belonging to national carrier Saudi Airlines -- is due to arrive in Baghdad on Thursday. World Bulletin
Canada:Quebec passes controversial face veil ban
Montreal;Quebec has passed a contentious law that would make it illegal for Muslim women, and other individuals, who cover their faces to receive public services, including riding public buses.Members of the provincial legislature voted 65-51 in favour of the legislation on religious neutrality, known as Bill 62, on Wednesday morning.The law forces citizens to uncover their faces in order to receive or give public services in the French-speaking province.It applies to provincial and municipal employees - including doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers - and public transit workers.Shaheen Ashraf, a board member of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women based in Montreal, said she was "disturbed and unsettled and upset" that the legislation was passed.Muslim women in Quebec "are feeling targeted" by the law, which is the latest in a series of attempts by the provincial government to "raise the issue of Muslim women's attire", Ashraf told Al Jazeera.
French Parliament adopts controversial anti-terror law
Paris: French Parliament on Wednesday adopted a controversial anti-terror bill that gives the authorities permanent new powers to search homes, shut places of worship and restrict freedom of movement.The new law, which will replace the state of emergency imposed after the 2015 Paris attacks, was approved by the Senate on its second reading, despite campaigners warning of a threat to civil liberties.The lower house National Assembly overwhelmingly approved it last week.The legislation, which sparked weeks of intense debate in parliament, makes permanent several of the measures included in the emergency laws enacted after the Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed.AFP
Police arrest 21 members of Bangladesh Jamaat's female student front in Dhaka: Bangladeshi paper
Police have arrested 21 leaders and activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami's female student front Islami Chhatri Sangstha in Dhaka on charges of 'plotting antigovernment activities'. Police said they arrested the 21 in a drive on a flat at a building in Dhania of Kadamtali on Wednesday evening.Kadamtali Police Station OC MA Jalil said two other women were also taken to the police station from the flat.The two said they had come to the flat on a visit. "We are checking their statement," the OC said.He also said police raided the building owned by late Jamaat leader Moazzem Hossain following a tip-off that the pro-Jamaat students met there to 'discuss anti govt activities'.Police could not confirm the names and posts of the Chhatri Sangstha members. "We are working on the issue," OC Jalil said.bdnews24.com
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